American Pickers star Mike Wolfe confirmed he will be hosting the long-running History Channel series by himself after Frank Fritz's exit. Speculation that Fritz would not return to the show began after Fritz told The Sun he has not spoken with Wolfe in two years. When the show returned for its 22nd season in January, Fritz was not on the show.
"I have known Frank for as long as I can remember, he's been like a brother to me," Wolfe told Entertainment Weekly in a statement Thursday. "The journey that Frank, Dani (Danielle), and I started back in 2009, like all of life, has come with its highs and lows, blessings and challenges, but it has also been the most rewarding. I will miss Frank, just like all of you, and I pray for the very best and all good things for him on the next part of his journey."
Prior to Wolfe's statement, American Pickers production sources told TMZ that Fritz left the show to deal with health problems and recover from back surgery. Fritz, who last appeared on the show in March 2020, also has Crohn's Disease. Wolfe then kept the show going, often featuring his brother Robbie. Although Fritz thought Robbie was being considered as his replacement, sources told TMZ this is not the case.
Back on Monday, Fritz, 57, told The Sun he has not spoken with Wolfe, 57, in two years. "He knew my back was messed up, but he didn't call me up and ask how I was doing. That's just how it is," Fritz said. He later said the show was "tilted towards" Wolfe "1,000%." He also described Wolfe as the show's "frontman," comparing him to Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
That said, Fritz told The Sun he has his fans because he was the more down-to-earth star of the two. "I'm not arrogant and I'm more of a regular ol' guy. The guy that connects with me is the guy who buys a 30 pack of Busch Light and a pizza on the weekend. That's my guy. My guy buys a $150 sign, not an $8,000 sign," he said. "I'm more of the common man guy, I haven't found a $100,000 vase or any Michelangelo stuff. I've never really had a big, big score like that. But all the small scores are the bread and butter and that's my deal."
Although Fritz said it would be "hard" for him to ever return to the show, he admitted it was still up to the History Channel to decide. "It's up to the network whether I come back on the show," he said. "It ain't gonna affect me one bit. I didn't leave the show. I finished shooting and then I had a little back surgery and the pandemic came."
Wolfe's personal life is also in the midst of a big change. His wife, Jodi Catherine Wolfe, reportedly filed for divorce in Williamson County, Tennessee back in November 2020, but the filing wasn't reported on until earlier this month. Wolfe is reportedly dating Leticia Cline, a model who reportedly appeared on the WB dating show Beauty and the Geek.